Be Bryant Strong

The entire Bryant community has had an active role in creating a safe and healthy Fall 2021 semester. #BeBryantStrong

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January 14, 2022 Community Update

We are looking forward to our students’ return to campus and the start of the spring semester. It is incumbent on all of us to keep our community safe. By continuing to work together with commitment to learning and the spirit of cooperation, we are confident that we will continue the effective operations Bryant has maintained since the onset of the pandemic. This communication includes important health and safety updates for a safe beginning of classes, participation in the Innovation and Design Experience for All (IDEA) program, and residential life.

COVID-19 infections are rising in Rhode Island and across the country due to the Omicron variant. The increase in reported cases requires changes in our COVID-19 strategy and approach for the early weeks of the semester. In making these changes, we are guided by scientific consensus on the effectiveness of high vaccination rates and wearing high quality masks. While we may need to make temporary modifications to Bryant’s health and safety policies based on the changing context, there will not be any significant changes to University operations or in-person activities. 

Today we are announcing these added safety measures:

Pre-arrival evidence of your vaccine and booster record

Upload to Medicat is now required no later than your date of campus arrival. This is January 23 for all those participating in IDEA, January 24 for employees, and January 27 for all other students. Upload details are below and at covid.bryant.edu.* As communicated in December, booster shots are required for all Bryant students, faculty and staff for the spring semester unless you have a previously approved exemption. A waiting period after a positive case of COVID is no longer advised. We expect all members of the Bryant community to have received a booster shot by their date of return to campus unless their date of eligibility (five months after their second dose of Pfizer and six months with the Moderna vaccine or two months after their Johnson & Johnson vaccine) occurs later. Health experts advise that your booster vaccine does not need to be the same as your initial vaccine series. For those with eligibility after their arrival on campus, the expectation is that booster vaccines will be taken within ten days of eligibility. In Rhode Island, visit vaccinateri.org to schedule a booster; in Massachusetts, visit vaxfinder.mass.gov.

Revised masking requirements in all indoor locations except when seated and dining, in a student’s private residential space, or in an enclosed private office. The fitness center will temporarily operate at a reduced capacity to ensure social distance

Required use of high-quality 3-ply surgical masks and Bryant distribution in multiple campus locations for all students, faculty and staff. The use of cloth masks should be discontinued effective as of Friday, January 21, unless worn as a second layer with a surgical mask.

Updates to the quarantine and isolation protocols for students. Isolation is now reduced to five days for those with COVID and without symptoms.

Residential and commuter students are strongly encouraged to be tested for COVID-19 within 48 hours of their return to campus. If you test positive, contact the Bryant Contact Tracing team at contacttracing@bryant.edu and a team member will provide instruction. If you test positive, you should not return to campus until your isolation period has ended. Students participating in the IDEA Program will receive additional instruction regarding their check in to the program. Bryant University will continue to provide rapid symptomatic testing for students and mandatory weekly surveillance testing for those with an approved vaccine exemption. To schedule state-run testing in Rhode Island, visit covid.ri.gov; in Massachusetts, visit mass.gov/covid-19-testing.

To help ensure everyone’s safety, if you are experiencing symptoms consistent with the flu or COVID you should not return to campus.

Our spring opening plans give priority to the health and safety of the Bryant community and a rewarding residential learning experience, as we have done for the last three semesters. Employees with specific questions relating to their own individual work arrangements should reach out to their supervisors to explore options. As conditions and governmental mandates change, we will review and revise our policies.

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January 10, 2022 Community Update

We are monitoring the public health situation and continuing to plan for a spring semester opening as scheduled in the University academic calendar. Residence halls will open for students enrolled in the IDEA Program on Sunday, January 23 (Noon-9pm), and for Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors on Tuesday, January 25. The IDEA Program for Freshmen will take place Monday-Wednesday, January 24-26, with a modified in person format. Regularly scheduled classes begin in person on Thursday, January 27.

Our spring opening plans give priority to the health and safety of the Bryant community and a rewarding residential learning experience, as we have done for the last three semesters.

In preparation for the return of students and start of spring classes and activities, please be reminded of policies for vaccination and booster vaccines as announced in December and evolving best practices for indoor masking.

• Full vaccination, including booster shots 5 months after the primary vaccination shots with Pfizer vaccine and 6 months with other vaccines, is required for all Bryant students, faculty and staff for the spring semester, except for those with a previously approved vaccine exemption. There are still appointments available at our campus clinic on Wednesday, January 12.

• Bryant will require proof of your current vaccination record or approved exemption. The deadline to upload this information to the Medicat portal is Monday, February 7. Visit covid.bryant.edu for upload instructions.

• Required weekly screening testing will continue for unvaccinated members of the community. Bryant Health Services will continue to provide rapid Cepheid tests for students with symptoms.

• Residential and commuter students are strongly encouraged be tested for COVID-19 or take a home test within 48 hours of their return to campus. If you test positive, contact the Bryant Contact Tracing team at contacttracing@bryant.edu and a team member will provide instruction.

• Masking will be required in many indoor areas, except when seated in a dining facility and enjoying a meal, when students are in their private residence area, or when an employee is alone in a room with floor to ceiling walls and a closed door in accordance with Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). 

KN95, N95, and double masking with other masks, is most effective in mitigating the spread of new variants and strongly encouraged. Bryant will continue to make face coverings available for those who need them. Masks are available at locations including the Unistructure Post Office and Fisher Student Center Information Desk.

We are looking forward to the return of Bryant students and will continue to keep the Bryant community informed of plans for the spring semester opening and evolving public health guidance and best practices. Details regarding the modified in person IDEA Program will be forthcoming from Associate/Interim Provost Wendy Samter, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Inge-Lise Ameer, and Program Director Allison Butler.

December 22, 2021 Community Update

We have an exceptional Bryant community that has helped us to collectively address campus challenges from COVID-19, and by doing so we have ensured that the Bryant education and experience remain strong. With rapidly rising numbers of cases in the US and a new variant with a significantly higher transmission rate, the public health context in Rhode Island and elsewhere is evolving and requires increased attention to health and safety. 

The Rhode Island Department of Health has recently announced temporary measures to address the increase in COVID-19 cases. This includes the need for masking or proof of vaccination at all indoor venues including on Bryant’s campus starting this week and continuing to January 21.

By continuing to work together, and with the Bulldog spirit of caring and cooperation, we are confident that we will be able to ensure a safe and highly productive on-campus learning experience in the spring semester.

To prepare for a safe and healthy start to the spring semester, we have developed updated health and safety requirements that will take effect on Monday, January 24. These are measures that will be in place at the beginning of the semester, when COVID cases in RI and nationally are expected to peak.  As positive cases decline and governmental mandates are relaxed, we will revise our policies. We are announcing these policies for the beginning of the semester now to give you sufficient time to prepare, including scheduling an appointment for the booster as needed.

• Booster shots will be required for all Bryant students, faculty and staff for the spring semester

• Bryant will require proof of your current vaccination record or approved exemption

• Weekly screening testing will continue for the unvaccinated

• Masking will be required in many indoor areas, except dining facilities and residence halls

Booster shots will be required for all students, faculty and staff for the spring semester.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone ages 18+ should obtain a booster shot either six months after their second dose of Pfizer/Moderna vaccine, or two months after their Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Bryant’s very high rate of 97% of our community fully vaccinated was critical to achieving a productive and rewarding fall semester. To ensure our ability to continue to deliver a safe and healthy in-person experience, we require everyone to complete a primary vaccine series and add a booster shot at the recommended time- either by January 24 or within ten days once eligible.

Getting a booster vaccine will give you added protection against COVID-19 and variants and help protect you from becoming seriously ill. It will also help to prevent spreading the virus to your friends and other members of the Bryant community. There are still appointments available at our campus clinic on Wednesday, January 12. If you live in RI, you can also find free and convenient booster clinics at vaccinateri.org. If you live in MA, appointments may be found at vaxfinder.mass.gov.

Bryant will require proof of your current vaccination record with compliance to campus requirements or approved exemption.  The deadline to submit this information is Monday, February 7, 2022.

Please upload verification to the Medicat portal. To access Medicat:

• Log into the my.bryant.edu portal

• In the “Quick Launch” drop down select “Medicat”

• Log in using your credentials (same username and password as the Bryant portal)

• Select “Upload” from the main page

• Select your document to upload. Acceptable documents to provide as verification include: Vaccine Card, Print out from Department of Health in the state you were vaccinated, or Immunization Record from your medical provider

Documentation will only be accepted through the Medicat portal. Please do not email, mail or fax your documentation. Please contact Health Services directly with any issues uploading your documentation.

Weekly Screening Testing for the Unvaccinated

Bryant’s surveillance testing program was critical to managing the small number of COVID cases on campus this fall. Weekly screening tests will continue for the spring semester for all students, faculty and staff with approved exemptions from our vaccine requirement. Health Services will advise students and employees of their test schedule for the spring semester.

Indoor Masking

Face coverings will be required in many indoor areas of campus, except for dining facilities and residence halls. The mask requirement includes classrooms, meeting rooms, and offices in which more than one person is present.

We remain confident that we will be well positioned after the winter months for another spring of near normalcy. The Bulldog spirit is very strong and much appreciated. It will help us to ensure a safe campus and as normal as possible campus experience while COVID cases remain high and allow us to return to normal operations as cases go down.

We wish you a safe, healthy and restful winter break. Please continue to check your email over break for important information regarding the start of the spring semester. You can also visit covid.bryant.edu for the latest information.

December 10, 2021 Community Update

Bryant University has a high rate of vaccination (97%) and continues to have a small number of positive COVID-19 cases on campus. Since the start of the fall semester, positive cases detected through our ongoing surveillance testing, rapid testing and testing off campus have been concentrated among those who remain unvaccinated.

Rhode Island currently has a high level of transmission that is climbing, and positive cases are also climbing in neighboring states and across the country. As we prepare for final exams next week and the end of a productive and rewarding fall semester, it is important to continue our collective commitment to the health and wellbeing of the Bryant community. Please remain vigilant by wearing masks in classrooms and meeting rooms, including during exams. If you are experiencing symptoms, arrange to be tested for COVID and contact your faculty members to explore remote options.

Vaccinations and booster shots are the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 and variants. We strongly encourage all members of our community to plan for safe holidays and remain fully vaccinated by getting a booster as soon as you are eligible. As a reminder, you are eligible to receive your booster shot:

  • Six months after your second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine or a two-dose vaccine that is listed by the World Health Organization, or
  • Two months after you received the single-dose Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In addition to Bryant’s campus clinic on December 13, we are planning for an additional campus booster clinic in January. You can schedule a shot sooner at one of the many convenient local pharmacies where free shots are available. Visit vaccinateri.org to locate a clinic in Rhode Island, or mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine for locations in Massachusetts.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the Bryant community has continued teaching and learning through strong spirit and dedication. We are closely monitoring the evolving advice of public health experts regarding the Omicron variant and best practices for the spring semester. A fully vaccinated and boosted community will help to ensure continuance of the in-person classroom and residential life experience that is our hallmark.

Bryant continuously reviews campus health and safety measures that are proving to be effective and will establish policies for the spring term in alignment with guidance from the RI Dept. of Health. We wish you the best of luck for the final week of this semester and hope that you enjoy a healthy and restful winter break. We appreciate every member of the Bryant community and all that you are doing to keep yourselves, your fellow students and all members of our community healthy and safe.

November 17, 2021 Community Update

The first three months of our fall semester have been filled with a busy return to activities that distinguish Bryant’s campus life. Through the community’s commitment to health and safety, our high vaccination rate above 97% has helped to keep our number of positive cases low. As a result, we have been able to enjoy in person classes, specials programs and events, and athletics.

The flu season has arrived and is of concern, with increasing cases on Bryant’s campus and at universities and colleges across the nation. It is especially important to get a flu shot this year because symptoms of COVID and the flu can be similar. To address the flu, we held campus Flu Vaccination Clinics earlier this fall and strongly encourage those who have not yet received their flu vaccination to get their vaccination before the Thanksgiving holiday.  Flu vaccinations are readily available for free at local area pharmacies including CVS. Visit health.ri.gov to locate a Flu Vaccine Clinic. The University is also offering an upcoming Flu Clinics on campus December 7, 9am-12 Noon. To register, visit: http://twc.thewellcomp.com/flu

Enter Login:  bryant6 for December 7th clinic

With regards to COVID-19 the larger context is changing. Health experts and public health data have identified rising cases and reduced protection even among those who are fully vaccinated. Rhode Island currently has a high level of transmission and is experiencing one of the fastest increases in COVID infections in the U.S., with 55% growth over the past two weeks. This will require us to be vigilant in the weeks ahead.

One of the best ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 is to be vaccinated, ensure that members of your family are vaccinated, and take the booster shot as soon as you are eligible. Yesterday, the Rhode Island Department of Health announced that anyone 18 and older can get a booster shot because rising cases of COVID-19 put everyone at increased risk. 

The CDC has recently approved mixing and matching any of the three available vaccines as booster shots, making it even easier. Book an appointment at the Dec. 13 campus clinic or at one of the many convenient local pharmacies where free shots are available. Visit vaccinateri.org to locate a clinic in Rhode Island.

We appreciate continued cooperation with Bryant policy requiring masks in classrooms, meeting rooms and shared spaces that do not allow for six feet of social distance. The CDC suggests additional measures you can take to stay well this season, include masking when in crowded indoor settings.  These measures are very important to help to prevent transmission of COVID and the flu

With two weeks of classes and a week of exams following Thanksgiving break, the next month will be filled with academic accomplishment and seasonal celebrations. Renewed commitment to best practices for public health will help ensure that we finish the semester strong.

We wish everyone a safe and healthy Thanksgiving holiday.

September 17, 2021 Community Update

After the first full week of our community back on campus and participating in classes and residential life, we are pleased to report a total population vaccine rate of nearly 97% and still increasing. From Friday, September 10, through yesterday, we conducted 300 surveillance and rapid symptomatic tests for COVID. The number of positive cases for the week is eight.

We will continue to set health policies for our campus based on analysis of Bryant’s data, guidance from RIDOH and science. After careful consideration of our campus context, Bryant’s policy for indoor masking will be updated starting tomorrow. Policies requiring weekly campus testing for all unvaccinated students and employees are unchanged.

We are extending the requirement for all members of our community and campus visitors- regardless of vaccination status- to wear masks indoors during all class sessions, in the Krupp Library, in offices where people work in close proximity, and in meeting rooms including those in the Unistructure, Quinlan/Brown AIC, and Fisher Student Center.

Even though Bryant has had no instances of transmission in any academic areas or public spaces, masking in these settings is important because individuals are in close contact for sustained periods of time. We are working with Bryant’s Student Government leadership to encourage everyone to follow this mask policy.

If you are not fully vaccinated, to best protect others RIDOH recommends that you continue to wear a mask outdoors in crowded settings and indoors near people you don’t live with. RIDOH also recommends that you continue to stay at least three feet apart from unvaccinated people you don’t live with.

Vaccinated students, faculty, and staff may choose to wear masks in other settings as a matter of personal preference but are not required to mask in areas where there is no sustained physical proximity- such as while in hallways and passing through the Rotunda. Those working in an office are encouraged to be mindful of maintaining social distance and not required to wear masks but are encouraged to do so if they prefer. The latest RIDOH masking guidelines and FAQs are available here.

Access to the Bryant Fitness Center will continue by reservation only, with a maximum capacity of 35 set at a distance so masking will not be required. Full masking is required by RIDOH guidelines in Health Services and the Athletic Training Room.

Throughout the past academic year, Bryant was a national model for success in addressing the virus because our community, and especially our students, stepped up and cooperated with evolving requirements. As a result, we were able to do things that were not possible on other campuses, including holding in-person Commencement ceremonies. We are all in this together and appreciate everyone’s commitment to policies that will help ensure a safe fall semester.


August 25, 2021 Community Update

We are looking forward to the return of our students, starting with 4MILE this Friday and Welcome Week for first-year students beginning September 1. Fall semester classes begin on September 7. Bryant is fortunate to have very high vaccination rates in our community and significant access to testing. More than 90% of the campus community is fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Last year, we kept the Bryant campus open with a layered approach to health and safety that was adjusted over time to address changing circumstances and changing Rhode Island Department of Health guidelines. This year we will continue to align Bryant policies with the evolving context and best practices in higher education.

RI Gov. McKee has declared a new State of Emergency until September 18 due to the dangers posed by the delta variant and other emerging variants. In recent weeks there has been an increase in COVID cases, including among younger people, and the State is currently designated as a high-transmission state. Public health experts have expressed concern that Rhode Island COVID hospitalizations are tracking to keep climbing over the next month despite the state's relatively high vaccination rate.

As a result of this changed context and the high priority we place on the safety of our community, we, along with many other colleges and universities, are revising policies for surveillance testing for the unvaccinated and masking indoors on campus.

Surveillance Testing Required for Unvaccinated Students and Employees

Bryant will continue to invest in its partnership with the Broad Institute for the fall semester and starting on September 7 will require weekly PCR surveillance testing at the Health Services Sick Clinic for all unvaccinated students and employees. This new requirement and provision for student and employee testing on campus is because health experts and data indicate those who are not vaccinated are at significantly increased risk. The testing schedule will be sent to impacted individuals. As previously communicated, the Sick Clinic will also provide rapid Cepheid tests for symptomatic students.

TESTING FOLLOWING INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

Due to increased risk of exposure, all international air passengers traveling to the US are required to present a negative COVID-19 test result. After travel, students who are fully vaccinated are required to take additional tests on day 3 and day 5. This additional testing is strongly encouraged for vaccinated employees and widely available for free throughout the region. If you are not fully vaccinated, you are required to get tested at days 3 and 5 and quarantine for 7 days.

INDOOR MASKING- NO MASKS REQUIRED OUTDOORS

Effective Friday, August 27, we will require all members of our community and campus visitors- regardless of vaccination status- to wear masks indoors while inside all campus buildings except for locations for which exemptions are noted. Employees will not need to wear masks when they are in an individual or shared office space with six feet of space or more between colleagues. As was the case last year, students in their own residence hall rooms and those who are seated and dining in one of our foodservice venues will not need to wear masks. Access to the Bryant Fitness Center is by reservation only, with a maximum capacity of 35 set at a distance so masking will not be required while using the Fitness Center. Reservations will be on a 60-minute basis. Student-athletes participating in intercollegiate competition indoors will adhere to NCAA regulations regarding masking.

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These policies will be in effect until September 18, in alignment with State of Rhode Island’s State of Emergency. We hope that indoor masking will not be necessary for the full semester. Lifting indoor masking requirements is dependent on evolving conditions on campus and in the larger community.

We regret that these adjusted policies may be inconvenient and disappointing for the Bryant community. We are all in this together, however, and the combination of extra testing and indoor masking will allow us to help keep each other safe and have as much as possible of the Bryant experience we all cherish.

Bryant is fortunate to have a spacious campus with many opportunities for outdoor activities and events, so please take these new guidelines into consideration when planning fall events and activities and try to utilize our outdoor spaces as much as possible.

Vaccination remains the most effective tool to address the global pandemic. Vaccines have been safe and highly effective in preventing hospitalization and serious illness. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine has received full approval from the FDA, replacing the emergency use authorization granted by the agency last December. If you have not yet been vaccinated, free vaccine clinics are widely available throughout the region.